With all the talk about new ways to expand the capacity of customer service and support, and constant ideas for revamping what’s already in place, one aspect of this is often overlooked. That of course is the skillset agents should actually have, to work within a general customer service and support department. So, today, we’re going to look over some customer service skills for success.
Before we do that, though, let me touch on something you should know going in. You see, there are a number of channels you use if you’re smart, and call centers are only one of these. Call centers kind of suck, but you can’t be rid of them. But relying on them is a bad idea.
So, when we go over these customer service skills for success, bear in mind it won’t all be about telephones.
#1 – Conversation Skills
Ok, this one sounds like it’s about telephones, and while that’s a big part of it, that’s not the whole of it by any means. In fact, all but self service solution require skills with communications.
This means native, fluent grasp of the customer’s language, ability to understand simplified terminology, and patience and engagement with the customer as they may be in duress and upset, panicked or hostile.
#2 – Technical Skills
Whether or not the agent is using the phone, their technical skills need to be up to snuff. They will need to work CRM software, handle instant messengers, interact with social media and so on easily and without hesitation.
This diversification of their technical skills lets them be shifted around as needed, meaning roles could be filled during crises. Also, it helps for lost traffic in the wrong place as well, as you can help them even if it’s not your department.
#3 – Cross Training Knowledge
Cross training isn’t a skill itself, but this is a set of skill to pay attention to. This is the same logic behind the technical skills above, but applying to specialties and knowledge of other departments. This has the same set of benefits as the technical skills, very well.
#4 – Diplomacy
Yeah, this one’s a different issue, but it’s still important. An agent represents the company they are working for, and as such, they must be able to establish diplomatic relationships with the customers, with the contact having been inspired by a bad thing happening most of the time.
Allies to be made in a crisis, as it were. This is a difficult thing I can’t give any advice on here beyond studying diplomacy and going through some ice breaking social games that train for this interaction and level of pressure.
#5 – Decision Making and Confidence
Finally, an agent must be able to make decisions, and to put their foot down when no means no, or when a customer is being out of sorts and unreasonable.
Once they reach a conclusion, they must stand for it, and be confident in their advice and their verdicts in any given circumstance.
These are the customer service skills for success, but this is a simplification to the extreme. But, we’ve done more specific topics related to this that explore the intricacies as well.